India and Australia are expected to play five Test matches in a bilateral series in the next cycle of the Future Tours Programme (FTP). Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which is the Test series between India and Australia, consists of four Tests presently.
India and Australia will follow the Ashes model, where England and Australia play five Test matches in each series. India has been playing five Tests against England regularly with the 2021 home series being an exception in Covid-19 pandemic times. Their recent Test series concluded on July 5 as both teams shared the trophy after the series squared 2-2.
However, the next Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which is scheduled to be held in India next year, will be a four-Test affair and also part of the current World Test Championship (WTC) cycle.
Steve Waugh calls ‘great initiative’ to extend the India-Australia Test series to five games
According to a report by Cricbuzz, the expanded bilateral engagement will kick in from the 2024 season, when India is scheduled to visit Australia.
Former Australian captain Steve Washington, who was involved in seven Test series against India, including three as a captain, welcomed the decision to expand the Test series to five games.
“I think it’s a great initiative as it’s the closest contest to an Ashes series for the Australian team,” Waugh told Cricbuzz.
How the extension of Test series will benefit broadcasters?
India are the current holders of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, sealing a historic 2-1 series Down Under with Ajinkya Rahane leading an inexperienced squad in the fourth Test.
The five-Test series between India and Australia will serve as a massive boost for the Australian broadcasters and consequently will benefit Cricket Australia.
“It is a bonus for Australia, which is due to begin serious negotiations on another broadcast deal,” a report from The Australian mentioned about the expansion of the Test series.
“It is believed the four Tests were worth $400m to Cricket Australia in the most recent broadcast deal – which was part of the reason the thought of the visitors going home midway through the 2020-21 season was so alarming. An extra Test match against India every four years will add significantly to broadcast revenues,” the report further mentioned.
The next cycle of the FTP will come into effect after the conclusion of the WTC final in June 2023. The concept of India and Australia playing five Tests is expected to be approved in the upcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) annual conference in Birmingham on July 25 and 26.